opera 8.0 review

I’ve been an Opera user for several years along with being a Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox aficionado and now that Opera 8.01 is out, here are my thoughts.

First, what I like.

Easy to switch plugins on and off (F12 and you can turn on flash, Java, sound etc)
Fast (page rendering and generally as an application)
Works with Gmail (a big plus)
Easy to validate pages. (Type Ctrl-Alt-v on the page)
Small download (4.1MB) which includes not only a great browser, but a built-in, fully-functional e-mail client, IRC client and RSS reader. By comparison, Firefox is a 8.2MB download for just the browser. You have to download extensions separately and if you want to use Thunderbird for e-mail, that’s another 9.9MB, adding up to nearly 20MB to download.

Now the things I’m not so keen on.

The default of having the x on the tabs. I wrote about this before, but it’s easily remedied.
The default toolbar dropdown with the URL box.
Running spellcheck crashed the browser.
Ajax support is less than stellar (this may be due to the fact that people don’t often test on Opera)

Overall, I find that I’m using Opera about 80-90% of the time, and Firefox the other 10-20%.

Here are a few links related to Opera. First there’s a browser comparison done by Opera, then a discussion that goes off on a tangent, but the comment by Blimundus rung true. Then there’s another discussion about using Opera, and lastly, a review of Cnet’s review of Opera.

At least it’s being talked about.

I’ve also found the Unofficial Opera Blog to be quite informative, providing me with the latest Opera news.


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  1. Two of those things that you are not keen on are just part of Opera’s default interface problem. When opening up Opera for the very first time, I find it that it maybe a bit intimidating to the new user. Hopefully in the future versions of Opera, the team will make it more Firefox like interface wise by default, so it isn’t nearly as intimidating. I too use Opera at around 80 percent of the time, the rest is with Firefox, for sites like NewsGator that won’t work properly in Opera (actually, I think Newsgator is one of the only reasons I open up Firefox).

    Naturally, I point users to this page which lists all the positive points of Opera. One key feature that I love Opera is the ability to move tabs around (yea there is an extension for Firefox but I didn’t bother installing it), I would think that the Moz team is up on this in 1.1 (I haven’t heard much of this from the testers in deer park releases though).

    Comment by Teja on June 28, 2005 @ 11:10 am
  2. Teja: I had never seen that site about the positive points about Opera. Thanks for the pointer. Your comment reminded me of another thing I like about Opera – it comes with lots of features instead of forcing you to download extensions. Of course that means that Firefox is more customizable in terms of functionality.

    Comment by dan on June 28, 2005 @ 11:18 am
  3. Nice short review, Dan.

    Opera’s small filesize in comparison to Firefox always surprised me as well.

    Comment by Konstantinos on June 28, 2005 @ 11:33 am
  4. Yes it does mean more functionality, but I find that sometimes that a few of the extensions tend to bloat up Firefox (especially when trying to make Firefox functional like Opera). At the same time, it paves the way for developers to create more innovative ideas with Firefox that no other browser has currently.

    Comment by Teja on June 28, 2005 @ 7:12 pm
  5. So one thing that has always bugged me about Opera is the hot key combination for various tasks. I’m used to hitting ^l to put in a new URL, and ^t to open a new tab. This is a small thing, but it drives me crazy. Does Opera have a way to assign certain hotkey combinations to certain tasks?

    Comment by Cameron on June 28, 2005 @ 9:47 pm
  6. Teja: Very true. The authors of the extensions don’t test their extensions with all the other ones so there’s a chance that they won’t play nicely, whereas Opera’s features are all tested together. Then again, you can do things with Firefox that Opera hasn’t thought of yet.

    Cameron: I don’t know of a way, and a quick Google search didn’t turn anything up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a way to change them.

    Comment by dan on June 28, 2005 @ 10:01 pm

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